The 2021 operating budget and utility rates were approved at the regular council meeting on Nov. 9, 2020. (Black Press file photo)

The 2021 operating budget and utility rates were approved at the regular council meeting on Nov. 9, 2020. (Black Press file photo)

City of Lacombe approves a 0.8 per cent tax increase for 2021

The 2021 operating budget and utility rates were approved unanimously at council

The City of Lacombe approved the 2021 operating budget and utility rates unanimously in council last week.

The budget includes a 0.8 per cent tax increase, which remains lower than the regular inflation rate. According to Chief Administrative Officer Matthew Goudy, the City tried to keep the rate low to make sure Lacombe residents didn’t have extra financial strain this year.

“It is only thanks to some quick decision making by council early on in the pandemic that we are able to maintain services with a budget that is less than inflation,” said Goudy.

Goudy added many other municipalities could be facing higher tax increases because of the combination of Alberta’s economic conditions and the stress COVID-19 has placed on municipal resources.

The increase, which equals around $120,000, will go towards helping the City maintain important city services.

The budget also outlines a three per cent increase on water and wastewater utility rates, which is higher than the City would have liked.

The City recently updated the methodology used to determine how much water is being consumed in the municipality. The new calculation will focus on how much water is being used versus how much the City is buying from the City of Red Deer.

This change will allow for more accurate budget estimates in the future, according to Goudy.

Solid waste fees will remain the same as they were in 2020.

Another impact on the operating budget is the potential decline in user fees. The City expects a $200,000 decline in user fees because many city-run facilities have had to close or adjust operating hours due to COVID-19 restrictions. This includes buildings such as sport complexes, public pools, libraries and theatres.

“The library has seen a different impact than the pool would see, and so we’ve looked at that quite closely as we made our budgets for 2021,” said Goudy.

Though the City is also expecting a decline in building permit over the next year because of the slower economic conditions, Goudy said right now, they are seeing an average rate of permits.

Council is satisfied with the operating budget as a whole along with the fact that they could keep the tax increase below average.

“We thank city administration for working to keep costs as low as possible for citizens during a year that was economically challenging,” said Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to limit travel throughout the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports additional 2,211 COVID-19 cases

Photo (STAR Catholic Logo)
STAR Catholic School Division declines running pilot on K-6 draft curriculum

The Catholic school board conducted an in-depth analysis of the Education Alberta’s draft curriculum

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr speaks to chamber members over Zoom on April 27. (Screenshot)
MLA Ron Orr fields diverse questions during ‘A Business Conversation’

The Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce hosted A Business Conversation with MLA Ron Orr

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 2,271 new COVID-19 cases, Red Deer cases rise slightly

Across Alberta, there are 666 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 146 in the ICU

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe at Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders.
Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff
AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Health inspectors and RCMP locked doors early Wednesday

FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine can be given to adults 30+ who can’t wait for mRNA: NACI

Panel says single shot vaccine can be especially useful for populations unable to return for second shot

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hospital investigating whether Alberta woman who died after AstraZeneca shot was turned away

Woman was taken off life support 12 days after getting vaccine

Two passengers were recently fined thousands of dollars after they faked their pre-flight COVID-19 test results. (Paul Clarke/Black Press)
2 passengers in Canada fined thousands for faking pre-flight COVID-19 tests

The government issued a warning Thursday to others thinking of doing the same – do it and you’ll be ordered to pay

A wild rabbit grazes in Nanaimo, B.C. in this Feb.2, 2018 photo. Rabbit owners in Alberta are being warned about a deadly virus that was identified in a southern Alberta household last month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dirk Meissner
‘Like a flash fire:’ Rabbit owners warned about outbreak of deadly disease in Alberta

The disease is confined to rabbits and cannot spread to humans

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

A dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination is prepared at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved for kids 12 to 15 years old in Canada

The vaccine was previously authorized for anyone at least 16 years of age or older

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to speakers appearing by video during a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada will align policy on ‘vaccine passports’ with international allies: Trudeau

Trudeau says Canadians could begin travelling outside the country again by summer

Most Read